• Posted on: 28/03/2024
  • 2 minutes to read

Brutal government spending cuts that will see the size of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples slashed by 40% will hit Pasifika communities hard, the PSA says.

The Ministry has told staff that it is seeking voluntary redundancies, and to redeploy and reassign staff, as it looks to shed 63 of 156 positions, of which 31 are vacant.

Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi National Secretary Duane Leo said the cuts would have far reaching consequences for the health and wellbeing of Pasifika families in New Zealand and across the Pacific.

"The 40% reduction is going to have a huge impact on a small Ministry serving a population of about 400,000 Pasifika people in New Zealand, many of whom have close links across the Pacific.

"This is a community that needs dedicated government support. We know that Pasifka families are more likely to live in overcrowded, unhealthy housing, and that their families are more likely to struggle financially than other New Zealanders. The Pasifika population has also grown rapidly - by 43% between 2006 and 2018, twice the rate of New Zealand’s population."

The Ministry has been active in Pasifika communities supporting housing development, the creation of training and employment opportunities, supporting Pasifika languages, cultures and identities, and developing social enterprises.

"This work is needed now more than ever. Pasifika communities are grappling with the high cost of living and are more at risk than others from the downturn in the employment market.

"The Ministry carries out a very important role by being a bridge between the Government and Pasifika communities, and particularly hard to reach groups within those communities. The value of this often-underrated work was highlighted during the COVID pandemic response.

"These cuts show the low level of importance this Government accords the Pasifika community. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising given a senior Cabinet member joked before the election about blowing the ministry up.

"Once again, we are seeing the cold, hard reality of the choice this Government has made - giving $3 billion in tax cuts to landlords, is somehow deemed more important, than supporting important and at times vulnerable communities," said Leo.